‘Big Bad Wolves’, an Israeli film from 2013, takes some popular genre conventions and turns them on their (often bloodied) heads. Imagine taking the visceral chills of ‘Hostel,’ add in the interrogative mystery of ‘Death and the Maiden,’ and sprinkle in the pitch-black humor of the Coen Brothers.
‘Big Bad Wolves’ certainly isn’t a straight-ahead thriller or horror film. It is a promising feature from directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado that combines several genre elements into a darkly funny and violent concoction that is both entertaining and disturbing.
In the opening scene, we are witness to three children innocently playing a game of hide and seek near an abandoned building. Beautifully framed in slow motion and dramatically wrapped by Haim Frank Ilfman’s lush score, ‘Big Bad Wolves’ boasts a very cinematic opening sequence.
After one of the children goes missing, our morally-conflicted protagonist Micki (Lior Ashkenazi) and his team of policeman thugs are soon interrogating a local suspect in the abduction.
Hampered by insufficient evidence, Micki and his fellow cops release suspect Mr. Dror (Rotem Keinan) only to find hours later that the missing child has been found murdered.
What ensues in ‘Big Bad Wolves,’ is a dark and often quite funny thriller which blends elements of horror, police drama, and vigilantism that has to be seen to be believed.
‘Big Bad Wolves’ is a uniquely engaging film, with it’s mixture of bleak humor amidst the grim realities of hunting a pedophilic murderer. The characters are well-written, not simply caricatures or stereotypes. Each role is aptly performed by a cast of Israeli talent likely not known to American audiences.
Admittedly, there are some serious “WTF?!? moments” throughout ‘Big Bad wolves.” However, these scenes serve the story, propelling it along to its intriguing third act. Is ‘Big Bad Wolves’ an “exploitation” picture? Yes. So was ‘Silence of the Lambs‘ if you want to get technical.
Like ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ this is a really well-made and great looking “exploitation” movie. If you can let go and enjoy the subversive ride, the Tarantino endorsement of ‘Big Bad Wolves’ should give you some idea that it’ll be a wild one.
Flixnerd Rating: ★★★☆☆
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